Potato Pizza Rounds
Yield: 10 servings ( 3 rounds per serving)
3 T. extra virgin olive oil, divided
4 medium potatoes, scrubbed, cut into
2 oz. turkey pepperoni (about 30 slices),
¾ cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
6 jalapeño peppers, seeded, finely chopped
1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
½ t. salt, or to taste
2 t. dried basil leaves
1 t. dried oregano leaves
½ t. garlic powder
Method: Preheat oven to 425°F. Spoon
1 T. olive oil on large nonstick baking
sheet; spread evenly with pastry brush
to coat. Arrange potato slices on
baking sheet; bake 10 minutes or until
pale golden. Turn potato slices over;
cook 6 minutes or until fork-tender and
beginning to lightly brown. Combine
pepperoni, mozzarella, jalapeño,
Parmesan, salt, basil, oregano and garlic
powder in medium bowl; toss until well
blended. Remove potatoes from oven;
spoon equal amounts (approximately
1 T. per slice) pepperoni mixture on
top of each potato slice. Return to
oven; bake 3-5 minutes or until cheese
begins to melt. Remove from oven,
drizzle remaining olive oil evenly over
topped potato slices. Let stand 5
minutes to allow flavors to absorb. Serve
immediately for peak flavor.
Recipe is courtesy of the Idaho Potato
of Corrieri’s Formaggeria and Vinea
Wine & Spirits, Nashville, Tenn.
That’s the challenge. In contrast, there
are ways to address the issues and turn
out signature pizza appetizers with a good
food cost that don’t make guests so full
they stop after the first course. And, with
the proper setup (and crust), the mini
pizzas don’t have to take long to prepare.
MAKING IT WORK
Corrieri usually does pizza appetizers for
catering. “The dough is cheap, then with
the toppings, you can charge accordingly,”
he says. He likes to keep his appetizer
food cost at 20%. Appetizer pizzas also
work well when he runs appetizer specials
for happy hour. “It’s still a good food cost,
even offering discounted appetizers.”
He pushes the “sharing” idea, then cuts
the pizzas into odd numbers. If there’s an
even number of people at the table, “rather
than argue over who will take the last one,
they are likely to order another round of
appetizers,” Corrieri says.
The four Faz restaurants of Faz Restaurants
& Catering, Pleasanton, Calif., sell oval-shaped pizza appetizers made from 6-7
ounces of dough cut into squares or slices,
and chef/owner Faz Poursohi says it doesn’t
take away from pizza entrée orders. “One
appetizer pizza doesn’t go that far.” Plus, “if
you sell a pizza, you’re ahead of the game.
You aren’t serving the bread,” which is free to
guests but costs the restaurant.
Poursohi sees a great future for pizza
appetizers. “They are very entertaining, and
you can make it on the grill, a flat grill, the
oven—all kinds of ways. It’s good for the
family or gatherings, it’s very refreshing, and
it will be around a long time,” he says.
The 104 venues of BJ’s Restaurant &
Brewhouse, based in Huntington Beach,
Calif., added pizza appetizers to the menu
two years ago. They are good, shareable
and quick, says Ray Martin, vice president of
culinary development. By quick, he means
that from the time guests order the appetizer
(made with thin-crust flatbread), they should
have it on their table in 7 minutes maximum.
The restaurants have it down to 1 minute
prep time, 4 minutes in the oven and
1 minute to cut, plate and serve.
Without the proper setup, Martin admits
that the appetizer could be challenging.
Some restaurants may try to build in too
much complexity or lack adequate staff
to manage it, making for slower service
and unhappy, impatient guests. Since the
pizza appetizers cook much quicker than
entrée pizzas, the cook needs to watch
them more closely to prevent ruining
them, he says. Also, thin appetizer pizzas
require more handling and, thus, space.
They are baked on a screen, transferred
to a wooden pizza peel to cut, and then
transferred to a serving plate.
Pizza appetizers work better for the bar than
for the restaurant at Italian eatery Jasper’s
in Kansas City, Mo., because they take 15
minutes to prepare, and they slow down the
kitchen, says chef/co-owner Jasper Mirabile
Jr. He has three crusts in his arsenal, and for
quick appetizer pizzas, the tortilla or ciabatta
bread “crusts” make the most sense.